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National Energy Tax Bill Bad for Biomass, Hydropower and Consumers

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Location: Washington, DC

National Energy Tax Bill Bad for Biomass, Hydropower and Consumers

Greg Walden (Ore.-2) said the latest draft of a bill to regulate carbon dioxide by creating a costly new emissions trading scheme is written in a way that will hurt development of biomass energy and new hydropower. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Walden is a member, began considering the 946 page bill today less than two hours after it was first made available to the committee members or the public.

"Within the first 30 pages of the bill it became clear that woody biomass from federal land gets shortchanged by some tricky wording that would effectively prevent brush and debris from most of our forests from counting as renewable energy. I'll offer amendments tomorrow in committee to fix this flaw," said Walden, who is former chairman of the Forests and Forest Health Subcommittee of the House Resources Committee.

"In addition, the climate change legislation also says new hydropower counts as renewable as long as the addition of the turbines doesn't change the water levels at any time or location behind a dam. One of the sustainable energy ideas is to use hydropower to balance the intermittent wind power output by storing water behind a dam when the wind blows and releasing it to make hydropower when it doesn't. The language of this proposal would disqualify that water power as a renewable energy source. It makes no sense to me, and I'll offer amendments to fix this problem," said Walden.

In opening comments today, Walden expressed frustration that the committee has refused to hold public hearings on the 946 page legislation and only made a copy of it available hours before the committee convened Monday afternoon. "This legislation is sweeping in the change it will bring about for generations to come and the Congress should take time to at least read the bill to make sure we understand the impact of these changes," said Walden. "If passed as is, it will dramatically increase energy costs to consumers and businesses and cost millions of jobs."

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Hollywood) told the press he plans to wrap up work on the measure before the end of the week.


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